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Daily Herbal Habit #4 Herbal Tea

I admit I like the occasional coffee, and I am without a doubt addicted to yerba mate (see the previous post for details), which is my everyday tea.  Yet, first thing in the morning when I wake up I’ve started a new daily herbal habit, and that’s “Fresh Herb tea”.

Brewing some Sage & Parsley

When I say fresh I mean FRESH.  I literally head out to the garden to see what is blooming, take a few leaves to put in hot water and steep for 10+ minutes.   The correct technical term would be herbal “infusion”.

What you may not know is how beneficial and healing these small herbal green leafed garden companions are. I’ve compiled a small list of what I have growing, in a very small space, with minimal effort, and yet maximum benefits:

Sage is an undervalued herb, there is a medieval saying that says ‘why should a man die while he grows sage in his garden’.  It’s all in the name sage of course also means wise, but its Latin name comes from salvare, which means ‘to save’.

It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antimicrobial and it clears mucus and reduces sweating. It’s said to prevent diabetes and is incredibly beneficial in treating fevers and colds, sore throat, asthma and headaches as well as indigestion and gastrointestinal upsets. So next time you feel a cold coming on, brew up some sage, mix in some honey and you’re good to go.

Parsley is rich in vitamins A, C and E, and minerals and is anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It’s also a diuretic – which means it relieves water retention.  This is great to drink or chew on after a garlicky meal as it also refreshes the mouth and breath,  this may be the original reason it made its way on to our plates as a garnish.

You can also find Rosemary Essential Oil in Wayfarers Magic: Comfrey Ointment

 Rosemary: is one of my personal favourites, It was most popular in ancient Rome, it’s prolific and easy to grow. Which is why you can spot it in many home gardens.  It not only boosts your memory but also your brain power and can clear a headache. It is an antioxidant, astringent, anti-inflammatory, stimulates poor circulation as well as being restorative and uplifting.

Thyme Culpeper noted it to be a strengthener of the lungs.  Is antiseptic, antioxidant, tonic,  antispasmodic – which means it relieves muscle spasms and was often used to expel worms.  It’s the herb to go to for asthma, coughing, whooping cough, bronchitis or hay fever.

 Peppermint: Is great for the digestion, relieves muscle spasms, has a cooling effect and yet increases

Herbs planted around the Comfrey are booming! Great companion plant!

sweating.  It’s particularly good for irritable bowel syndrome or sensitive stomachs as it increases the digestive juices, yet relaxes the stomach muscles and relieves cramps, colic and gas.

And these, are just a few of the simple garden herbs, filled with such magic – be sure to look into what you have growing in your garden.  Who knew you had such a delicious, beautiful green and affordable pharmacy right outside.

For those like their tea blended for them be sure to check out the Tea Master healthy blends over at Sensado.  More than anything, sit back, enjoy the taste and reap all the benefits of a good cup of Herbal Tea!

And for those who are still not sold on the benefits of tea, and love your coffee, here is a great post over at Healthy Ambition regarding the benefits of coffee.

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Daily Herbal Habit #1, Yerba Mate

mateleaf

Yerba Mate Plant

I don’t just use herbs in my Shepherd’s Alchemy products; I also have a range of herbs that I use daily for good health that I’d like to share.

These are herbs and health tips that picked up from my wanderings around the globe that I’ve integrated into my daily habits and rituals.  Not everything turns into a habit, sometimes I try something and it doesn’t really do it for me, so I drop it.  I continually redefine my healthy herbal habits – using what works best for me.

One of my favourite herbal habits is one that I picked up in Argentina. ‘Yerba mate’ the ‘drink of the gods’ named so as apparently a white bearded foreigner /god (perhaps the same Quezequatal who introduced other Ancient South American civilisations to Pyramids and sky charts) introduced them to Yerba mater and taught them how to chop, dry and drink this tea.  He told them it would quell hungry and allow them to work all day. And hence it is both a great ritual in the way you drink it, a special gourd, as well as a great health tonic.

It has a great list of benefits:

  • Increases Energy
  • Mental Stimulant: Keeps you alert and mentally agile
  • Decreases Appetite/ great for weight management
  • Laxative/ keeps you regular
  • Antioxidant
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Lowers the bad Cholesterol
  • Fights Cancerous cells
  • Boosts the immune System
  • Full of vitamins: A. C, E, B-1, B-2 and B

While it’s an acquired taste due to its bitterness, I love it.  Even the ritual of drinking it out of a gourd, which gets me some strange glances here in Australia.  Of course, in Argentina and Uruguay, it’s the order of the day. In Southern Latin America, it also has a real social aspect,  you’ll often find people in parks, beaches or even while visiting friends sharing a yerba mate with some lively banter.

Yerba_mateYet the benefits exist no matter how, where or with whom you drink it, I see most health food shops even sell it in tea bags now, which makes it more convenient.  I highly recommend you give it a try.

I personally buy it from Chili Mojo, a store local in Adelaide, who specialise in some of the best sauces and Latin food you can find in Australia.  If in Australia, this is the best online shop to buy it in.

From Gaucho Gourmet: The Plant is called Yerba Mate (flex paraguariensis) and is an member of the holly family. And is classified as aromatic, stimulant, bitter, aperient (laxative), astringent, diuretic, purgative, sudorific (sweat inducing), and febrifuge (fever reducing). It also contains  carotene, vitamins A. C, E, B-1, B-2 and B-complex, riboflavin; nicotinic acid; pantothenic acid, biotin, magnesium; calcium; iron; sodium; potassium; manganese, silicon, phosphates, sulfur; hydrochloric acid, chlorophyll, choline, and inositol. In 1964 one group of from the Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific Society said that Mate contains practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.

Sources & Further Reading:
Gaucho Gourmet
Be Brain Fit

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Move over superman, can Comfrey a Herb, save the world?

Well it would have been if Henry Doubleday would have had his way.  You see he was a lovely Irishman a little ahead of his time.  The story goes (I wasn’t there, so sorry to say it’s not a first hand account), back in the early 1900’s he came across some Comfrey and was somewhat amazed at it’s affects on both his own health, the way that comfrey both fertilizers the soil and brings nutrients up from deep in the earth to it’s roots, and hence making the soil even richer than ever, he even noticed the effect this wonderful herb had on the health of his livestock.comfrey_plant

He started bringing it into the UK and planting large crops, in the hope to be able to feed and heal people livestock and the soil…. I am not quite sure where and how the story ended; I do know that he passed away before being able to see his dream come to life. And  slowly this modest herb without any big name behind it, without a big company a team of marketing strategist so slowly left the forefront of people’s mind, as the medical profession turned to medicines that were supported by companies with plenty of money for research, the crystallisation of extracts of the comfrey plant overfed intravenously to rats leading this simple herb to be added unjustly to the poisons list and the public has since turned to marketed medicines.  And yet, Comfrey remains with us, modest in qualities, there for those that care enough to find out and work with it in our endeavours. Abiding it’s time where it will one day be able to rip of the binds and the cloak of invisibility to once more show that it could, can and perhaps still will save the world.  A few it’s super-powers;

  1. Its main component is Allantoin which regenerates cell tissue, helping to speed up our bodies ability to self heal/ setting of wounds, injuries, fractures, broken bones and sprains. This is also said to be the key element that leading some to declare this herb the elixir of life.
  2. It is rich in vitamins, A, B1, B2, E & C especially good for vegetarians as it even has B12, which is a rare vitamin to find in plants, it even has nutrients such pantothenic acid (B5), calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, sulphur, iron, Selenium, protein and phosphorus – beneficial for humans, plants and animals.
  3. It pulls nutrients to top of the soil around it and into nearby area, making it an incredibly valuable companion plant for other herbs, fruit trees and vegetables.
  4. Due to it’s richness in nitrogen and potassium it makes an amazing fertilizer, especially in today’s climate where soil nutrients are in decline, due to over-planting and lack of crop rotation.
  5. Farmers that have fed the leaves to livestock have reported a large increase of produce & health of their animals.
One of my own little home grown comfrey plants

One of my own little home grown comfrey plants

Now Comfrey is a humble plant, it just gets on with what it does best, which is to grow and grow, and then grow some more.  And while I might think Comfrey is a pretty super herb, and I do completely agree with Henry Doubleday and wished he’d lived to see his dream come true.  I hope for Comfrey that one day it will truly be recognised for it’s valuable contribution to our soils and earth, to our healing and our lives.

Notes:

For more information on full ompontents of comfrey, please check our Dr Christophers site: ‘allantoin (leaf) 13,000ppm; (root) 6,000-8,000 ppm-the biological activities are antidandruff, anti-inflammatory, anti-peptic, anti-psoriac, anti-ulcer, immuno-stimulant, keratolytic, sunscreen, suppurative, vulnerary. Symphytum is the number one plant species with the highest amount of allantoin’.

http://www.herballegacy.com/ThesisChemical.html

Comfrey: Proven relief from Osteoarthritis and Sprains

Touched base on the weekend, with the lovely Graeme Little, who inspired my ointment making and education of the endless benefits of Comfrey. Graeme was recently featured in the weekly times, farming section be sure to check out the article by clicking here.
Graeme, also kindly shared some of interesting articles and research out there that supports the claims of comfrey and it’s healing effects on back pain, strains and osteoporosis – so check it out.
The last three are for fun and much more easy reading, the gist of it all though is comfrey works, with amazing results!  Of course I know it works, however this is all great information and supports the our divine little comfrey – who has at time gotten a bad rap, how dare it grow like a weed, be un-patented, and free :)
Anyway, I also found it interesting that the Big German Pharma company Merck has ditched some of the drugs they were using for pain relief and replaced them with comfrey – in their own patented version.  Pfff, so they can try to patent it, personally I much prefer my home cooked version. I am glad though with some big pharma behind it, that it supports more research and results, it may lead to further investigation to the more benefits and help it clear some of the not so true accusations that the plant has to deal with.  Strange isn’t it that if its just good, and maybe miraculous no one wants to invest in research.  I don’t mind though how it happens, just good to see Comfrey out there and happening, making a difference in the world.
30g_ointment
Graeme’s comfrey website
Find my own ointment online at Etsy here.
Or of course if you are in South Australia can also buy it via Pure Organic Ministry or give me a shout.
Market days in July are in the planning – will relay dates shortly.